I have a customer who builds a device that is packaged inside a case and station in remote locations in the field. This customer wishes to add some functionality in terms of manageability to this device but does not have the capacity or the time to redesign and rebuild this device. One suggestion made to the customer was to use a small form factor embedded system (running Linux) on which the management agent would run. The form factor for this system is about 6 inches by 4 inches. There is no HDD in this system so everything would have to run from flash.
I am looking for some recommendations for boards that I can use to build some prototype systems.
# 100x100mm mechanical size with mounting holes for 2.5'' ATA disk.
# Motorola Dragonball 68VZ328/33MHz CPU clock.
# LCD controller for monochrome and color displays (up to 640x512 dots).
# 2 x 2MB of onboard flash (1MB reserved by the linux kernel, remaining
3MB can be used as flash disk). 32 MB of SDRAM.
# Altera ACEX 1k30-3 FPGA with 50 free pins. LArger 1k50 and faster speed grades available on request.
# Verilog reference code put under GPL. A 68VZ328 to wishbone brifge opens the door to free cores from
(for example including ATA PIO controller, 2x SPIs, 1xI2C, 32 GPIO pins, 2xethernet controller glue logic, 1xUSB controller gluelogic, 1k scratch RAM and
2x8 Bit interupt controller needs only 70% of the FPGA capacity). DMA cores are only possible trough FPGA scratch ram, because the 68VZ328 does not support external DMA. Free Quartus Web Edition and Leonardo design tools available from
# 10Base-T ethernet controller with status LEDs onboard, one RS232C serial port (second port with CMOS levels, also IRDA compatible), two SPI interfaces.
# All important signals are broad out on two 100 pin connectors (e.g. address- and databus, glue logic to external devices can easily implemented by the FPGA)
# Wide operation range (Vin 9-30V) trough on board stepdown converter. All importent power supply voltages broad out (5V@2.5A, 3.3V@0.8A,
# Digitally programmable LCD contrast voltage controller (+15 to
+24.5V). Negative contrast voltages available on request. Display touch panel controller (12 bit ADC, may also be used as general purpose ADC).
# Second onboard watchdog and reset controller.
# Real time clock with battery backup and 96 bytes of SRAM.
If you don't need the power of Linux, you might want to take a look at
I'm using their ip2022 processor and SDK. An upgradable system just includes the processor (some $10) and a serial flash (some $1).
The hardware / SDK includes an OS, the TCP/IP stack and Ethernet interface (just add the magnetics/socket). Self-programming (firmware-upgrade and configuration) (e.g. via a special Windows-Tool, TFTP or a built-in web server) can be done via UDP and TCP/IP. You are limited to 150 MIPS, 64K internal Flash and some 16 K internal Ram (external RAM can be added), 2*10Mbit Ethernet.
They are going to release the ip3K series right now. Same has great features for embedded devices (32 Bit RISK, 250 MIPS, external Flash, external and internal RAM, four 100 MBit Ethernet interfaces, eight hardware-tasks with no task-switching overhead, .... Same SDK as the
for more details. The only problem I have had with them, is that they insist you buy at least 1 development system. (You get uLinux + tools with this). The actual un20 module is an ARM7 based board with 2MB flash + 8MB Ram.